Thursday, 21 April 2016

My Aunt, A Life Will Lived, Lived Well.

Excuse me whilst I be self induldgent. My father's oldest sister, my aunt died recently at the age of 94. She was much loved and will be missed. I had previously made her a cushion and then a quilt which I blogged about at the time. In her memory I am republishing these two blog posts. If I get to 94 with interesting stories to tell, I will be doing rightly.
                                                             December 2013
The last make was rather rushed. My father and his brothers and sisters meet once a month for afternoon tea. My dad's youngest brother was worried he would have a succession of funerals to attend and thought it would be good to keep up contact in between. I kind of gatecrash in along with another couple of cousins who are free that afternoon. Anyhow, the matriarch of the family, my much loved Auntie Eileen was 92 last Wednesday, the actual afternoon of the tea party. Eileen is quite eccentric or maybe  I mean eclectic, very unmaterialistic but loves the natural world and is quite arty even yet.  I racked my brains for a couple of days, she would not be expecting a present but at 92 it seemed right to buy her a present, but what. Eventually I hit on it, make her a cushion, when I gave her her present (made very very quickly) I realised she was expecting something home made, would have been disappointed with a shop bought gift. Just one downside - she was hoping for a blanket rather than a cushion, to keep her knees warm. The upshot is in the new year I will be making her a blanket! To match the cushion.  Would I be so great at 92. 

March 2014 
I finished the quilt for my 92 year old aunt and delivered it last Wednesday. It pays to be thick skinned in this business - she had forgotten asking me to make a quilt. I am fine with that. She did ask me at the time, and you are entitled to get a little forgetful when you get to 92 years of age. At the time I had made her a cushion, and with perfect frankness she had said the cushion was very nice, but she would have preferred a blanket to keep her knees warm, and if I had any more fabric it wouldn't take much effort to make her one! Well, that was back in December on her birthday to be fair, and it did take me a little while to do it.

I had bought the Lindsay Conner "Modern Bee" book and thought I would link up and make the mosaic tiles quilt. Mine was a bit contradictory, my fabric was ancient, some Debbie Mumm lily fabric I had been saving for something or someone special way back in the early 1990s. Well, I reckoned my Aunt Eileen was the someone special, and she wouldn't mind if it was a little old fashioned, in fact, she would approve of using up old stuff you already have. My Auntie Eileen is really quite eccentric or interesting depending on your point of view. She throws nothing out and no matter what you were looking for, or not looking for, she always had something for you. When my twins were small she used to pick up all sort of bargains for them, and as babies she said the boys wouldn't mind the pink velour joggers she had bought them. She is the sort of aunt who always had a feather or some shells in her house for a little boy.

Anyhow, the quilt was a little square of pattern bound by dark green kona, a kind of remake of that old puss in the corner square. The back was just an amalgamation of the left over fabric, plus a strip of the oak leaf fabric I bought in Hyannis, New England many, many years ago. I also used this to bind it.


Eileen was pleased with the quilt even though she had forgotten. She hates being the centre of the attention, and she was loath to take it out of the gift bag to let me show my other aunts. (my dad is part of a big family and his brothers and sisters all meet up once a month for afternoon tea and a catch up. I go along when I can, I kind of got drawn in but I must admit I really enjoy it.)
By the time we were leaving there was a book of old Belfast, a box of left over sandwiches, heavy on the mayonnaise, and a box of cream pastries squished in the gift bag!! I dread to think!
She did remember though that her youngest son had introduced Alan and myself. She told me I must have got a good one if he had come on her son's recommendation! Funny how the memory works, but a great lady.


Tomorrow I will be doing a reading at her memorial service and remembering her fondly.
Helen x



  1. Sorry for your loss. We should aspire to have interesting stories.

  2. I am so sorry for your loss. Hugs to you, friend.

  3. Helen, I'm so sorry for your loss. Sending lots of love and hugs to you and your family. It sounds like you have lots of fond memories of your aunt. Thanks you for sharing a few of your stories with us.

  4. Awe I'm sorry to hear about your Aunt Helen, can't ask for more than a well lived life though!
    V x

  5. This is a wonderful tribute to your Aunt Helen. I am glad you and your family are able to spend time together, celebrating what life has to offer. I enjoyed reading your stories about your Aunt Eileen.

  6. Really enjoyed reading the two republished posts, Helen. She sounds like the kind of 92 and 94-year-old I hope to be! So sorry for your loss, but happy she lived as long as she did, and that you have many fond memories ("I dread to think"--haha, mayonnaise on the quilt, egad!) that evoke smiles with which to remember her. I love both the cushion and the quilt. And ya, as my husband says, at 94 (or whatever great age) you've earned the right to say whatever you like." Guess the plus side is forgetting what you've said if it was rather forward or rude or whatever!!


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